WSR 03-07-020

RULES OF COURT

STATE SUPREME COURT


[ March, 2003 ]

IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF PROPOSED NEW GR 30 )

)

ORDER

NO. 25700-A-762


The Judicial Information System Committee having recommended the adoption of proposed new GR 30, and the Court having approved the proposed new rule for publication;

Now, therefore, it is hereby

ORDERED:

(a) That pursuant to the provisions of GR 9(f), the proposed new rule as attached hereto is to be published for comment in the Washington Reports, Washington Register, Washington State Bar Association and Office of the Administrator for the Court's websites expeditiously.

(b) The purpose statement as required by GR 9(d), is published solely for the information of the Bench, Bar and other interested parties.

(c) Comments are to be submitted to the Clerk of the Supreme Court by either U.S. Mail or Internet E-Mail by no later than May 30, 2003. Comments may be sent to the following addresses: P.O. Box 40929, Olympia, Washington 98504-0929, or Lisa.Bausch@courts.wa.gov. Comments submitted by e-mail message must be limited to 1500 words.

DATED at Olympia, Washington this day of March 2003.
For the Court
Gerry L. Alexander
CHIEF JUSTICE

GR 9 COVER SHEET

Suggested New Rule

GR 30

ELECTRONIC FILING RULE

Submitted by the Judicial Information System Committee





Purpose: The suggested electronic filing rule would allow statewide electronic filing in all state, district, and municipal courts in Washington allowing electronic documents to have the same legal effect as a paper document. Several states and the federal courts have promulgated electronic filing rules. Practitioners have found electronic filing to be expeditious and resourceful. The suggested rule is a general rule that addresses the major issues that accompany electronic filing while allowing the specifics to be addressed by local rules. The local courts can develop and explore different ways to implement electronic filing using this suggested rule as a guideline.

The rule was drafted by a subcommittee of lawyers, judges, and court clerks from throughout the state and unanimously approved by the JISC. The suggested rule contains a definition section, and authorization section, describes when electronic documents are considered filed, indicates that electronic documents are considered signed when filed as long as the filing party retains the original document for future inspection by the parties or the court, and addresses filing fees.



NEW RULE

GR 30

ELECTRONIC FILING



GR 30.1 Definitions


(a) "Electronic Filing" is the electronic transmission of information to a court or court clerk for case processing.

(b) "Electronic Document" is an electronic version of information otherwise filed in paper form, except for documents filed by facsimile which are addressed in GR 17.

(c) "Electronic Filing Technical Standards" are those standards which have been adopted by the Judicial Information System Committee to implement electronic filing.


GR 30.2 Electronic filing authorization, exception, service, and technology equipment.


(a) The court clerk may accept for filing an electronic document that complies with the Court Rules and the electronic filing technical standards adopted by the Judicial Information System Committee.

(b) A document that is required by law to be filed in non-electronic media may not be electronically filed.

COMMENT: Certain documents are required by law to be filed in non-electronic media. Examples are original wills, certified records of proceedings for purposes of appeal, negotiable instruments, and documents of foreign governments under official seal.

(c) Electronic Transmission from the Court. The court clerk may electronically transmit notices, orders, or other documents to the party filing electronically, and to any other person who agrees to accept electronic documents from the court.

(d) Electronic Service by Parties. Parties may electronically serve documents on other parties of record only by agreement or order of the court.

(e) Electronic Filing Not Required. Electronic filing is voluntary. An attorney, party, court, or court clerk is not required to have the equipment necessary to accept or file electronic documents.


GR 30.3 An electronic document has the same legal effect as a paper document.


GR 30.4 Time of Filing, Confirmation, and Rejection.


(a) An electronic document is filed when it is received by the court clerk's designated computer during the clerk's business hours; otherwise the document is considered filed at the beginning of the next business day.

(b) The court clerk shall issue confirmation that an electronic document has been received.

(c) The court clerk may reject a document that fails to comply with the court's filing requirements.


GR 30.5. Signatures, Affidavits, Retention and Inspection of Original Documents, Sanctions, and Providing Copies of Original Documents to Opposing Party.


(a) Signatures. An electronic document is deemed signed when filed.

(b) Affidavits and other statements signed under penalty of perjury. A filing party may file an electronic document signed under penalty of perjury only if the filing party possesses the original signed paper document.

(c) Retention. The attorney of record or the filing party must retain all original signed documents for three years from the filing date or 60 days from the final judgment following exhaustion of all appeals, whichever is later.

(d) Inspection of Original Document. The court may require production of an original document on its own initiative or on request of the opposing party. If the original signed document is not produced, the electronic document will be treated as unsigned and disregarded.

(e) Sanctions and reimbursement of expenses. Sanctions may be imposed for failure to produce the original signed document. The opposing party may also be reimbursed for any expenses incurred because of the filing of the unsigned document.

(f) Copies. Within three days of request by the court or any party, the filing party shall provide paper copies of signed documents to the requesting party or the court.


GR 30.6. Filing fees, electronic filing fees.


(a) The court clerk is not required to accept electronic documents that require a fee. If the court clerk does accept electronic documents that require a fee, the local courts must develop procedures for fee collection that comply with the payment and reconciliation standards established by the Administrative Office of the Courts and the Washington State Auditor.

(b) Anyone entitled to waiver of non-electronic filing fees will not be charged electronic filing fees. The court or court clerk shall establish an application and waiver process consistent with the application and waiver process used with respect to non-electronic filing and filing fees.

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